The last significant redesign of the iPhone platform came in 2010 with the iPhone 4. It was an update that literally touched all aspects of the device, from SoC to display to baseband and of course, chassis. Last month’s launch of the iPhone 5 is no different in magnitude. The sixth generation iPhone makes some of the biggest changes to the platform since its introduction in 2007.

Visually the device begins by evolving the design language of the iPhone 4/4S chassis. From the launch of the iPhone 4 it was quite obvious that Apple had picked a design it was quite proud of. Thus it’s not too surprising that, from a distance, the iPhone 5 resembles the previous two iPhone models. We’ll get into material differences shortly, but what make the iPhone 5 design such a radical departure is its larger display.

All previous iPhones have maintained the same 3.5-inch, 3:2 aspect ratio display. With the rest of the world quickly moving to much larger displays, and with 16:9 the clear aspect ratio of choice, when faced with the decision of modernizing the iPhone platform the choice was obvious.

The iPhone 5 embraces a taller, 4-inch, 16:9 1136 x 640 display opting to lengthen the device instead of increasing its area in both dimensions. The result is a device that is distinctly an iPhone, albeit a modern one. The taller display doesn’t do much to make desktop web pages any easier to read as a result of the width staying the same. Those longing for an HTC One X or Galaxy S 3 sized device running iOS are out of luck. Reading emails and typing are both improved though as there’s now more room for lists and the keyboard no longer occupies as much of the display. The taller device can be more awkward to use if you have smaller hands, but the added screen real estate is honestly worth it. Once you get used to the iPhone 5’s display, going back to the older models is tough.

The taller chassis went on a diet as well. The iPhone 5 is now considerably thinner and lighter than its predecessor, which is yet another factor that contributes to it feeling more modern.

Internally the device changes are just as significant, if not more, than those on the outside. The iPhone 5 includes LTE support, which in areas where LTE networks are deployed can be enough reason alone to warrant an upgrade.

The iPhone 5 also includes a brand new SoC from Apple: the A6. For the first time since the introduction of the iPad, Apple has introduced a major branded SoC on an iPhone first. The iPhone 4 used the A4 after it debuted on the iPad, and the 4S picked up the A5 months after the iPad 2 launched with it. The A6 however arrives first on the iPhone 5, and with it comes two of Apple’s first, custom designed CPU cores. We’ve always known Apple as a vertically integrated device and software vendor, but getting into CPU design takes that to a new level.

Physical Comparison
  Apple iPhone 4S Samsung Galaxy S 3 (USA) HTC One S Apple iPhone 5
Height 115.2 mm (4.5") 136.6 mm (5.38" ) 130.9 mm (5.15" ) 123.8 mm (4.87")
Width 58.6 mm (2.31") 70.6 mm (2.78") 65 mm (2.56") 58.6 mm (2.31")
Depth 9.3 mm ( 0.37") 8.6 mm (0.34") 7.8 mm (0.31") 7.6 mm (0.30")
Weight 140 g (4.9 oz) 133g (4.7 oz) 119.5g (4.21 oz) 112 g (3.95 oz)
CPU Apple A5 @ ~800MHz Dual Core Cortex A9 1.5 GHz MSM8960 Dual Core Krait 1.5 GHz MSM8260A Dual Core Krait 1.3 GHz Apple A6 (Dual Core Apple Swift)
GPU PowerVR SGX 543MP2 Adreno 225 Adreno 225 PowerVR SGX 543MP3
RAM 512MB LPDDR2-800 2 GB LPDDR2 1 GB LPDDR2 1 GB LPDDR2
NAND 16GB, 32GB or 64GB integrated 16/32 GB NAND with up to 64 GB microSDXC 16 GB NAND 16, 32, or 64 GB integrated
Camera 8 MP with LED Flash + Front Facing Camera 8 MP with LED Flash + 1.9 MP front facing 8 MP with LED Flash + VGA front facing 8 MP with LED Flash + 1.2MP front facing
Screen 3.5" 960 x 640 LED backlit LCD 4.8" 1280x720 HD SAMOLED 4.3" 960x540 Super AMOLED 4" 1136 x 640 LED backlit LCD
Battery Internal 5.3 Whr Removable 7.98 Whr Removable 6.1 Whr Internal 5.45 Whr

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the new iPhone. Whether it is understanding the architecture of the A6 SoC or investigating the improved low light performance of the iPhone 5’s rear facing camera, we’ve got it here in what is easily our most in-depth iPhone review to date. Let’s get started.

Design
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  • A5 - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    He said pretty clearly and repeatedly that all browser tests on Android were run in Chrome.

    Rooting the phone to install a new kernel to improve benchmark scores would be insane. That's like asking why he didn't overclock it, too.
    Reply
  • edsib1 - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    But his benchmarks scores are all crap.

    My HTC One X (Tegra) with official 4.04 RUU gets 1684 compared to 1131 in Anands tests.

    Something is seriously wrong with his testing.

    It should also be pointed out Geekbench has errors. It reports memory sequential reads for android devices incorrectly.
    Reply
  • doobydoo - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    Dunno why you're even talking about Geekbench.

    Anand has noted several times that you can't use it to accurately compare cross platform.
    Reply
  • Kidster3001 - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    umm, you do know that for Kraken and Sunspider... lower is better. Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    I agree that rooting the phone and installing a new kernel for benchmarking is silly, but at least having up-to-date figures for a phone known to have received significant performance increases since its release would be a nice idea. This chap's numbers certainly make the phone look very different in terms of attractiveness. Reply
  • Kidster3001 - Monday, October 22, 2012 - link

    I also believe you will see better browser performance from the highly customized Intel Android browser than you will from Chrome for x86 Android. Reply
  • Krysto - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Something seems very wrong with RAZR M. It uses the same S4 processor as One X, has smaller 4.3" screen, has lower qHD resolution, bigger battery, and yet it still significantly underperforms the S4-based One X in Sunspider performance, in battery life, and other stuff as well. That shouldn't happen, and it seems like the issue is some very sloppy software that Motorola put on top of the RAZR M hardware. Reply
  • Arbee - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Yes, it's called Motoblur ;-) Reply
  • Spunjji - Friday, October 19, 2012 - link

    I thought they killed Blur already? :/ Reply
  • magnimus1 - Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - link

    Thanks! This was one phone I was waiting for. The other one I want to see is the Motorola RAZR i. Do you guys have any plans to review that? Reply

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